« PreviousContinue »
rents; keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not with inan's sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud array: Tom's a-cold.
Lear. What hast thou been? · Edg. A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled my hair; wore gloves in my cap, served the lust of my mistress's heart, and did the act of darkness with her; swore as niany oaths as I spake words, and broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one, that slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it: Wine loved I deeply; dice dearly; and in woman, out-paramoured the Turk: False of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; Hog in sloth, fox in stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey. Let not the creaking of shoes, nor the rustling of silks, betray thy poor heart to women: Keep thy foot out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen from lenders' books, and defy the foul fiend.Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind: Says suum, mun, ha no nonny, dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa; let him trot by.
[Storm still continues. Lear. Why, thou were better in thy grave, than to answer with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies.Is man no more than this? Consider him well: Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume:Ha! here's three of us are sophisticated!-Thou art the thing itself: unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art.-Of, off, you lendings:--Come; unbutton here.
[Tearing off his Clothes. Fool. Prythee, nuncle, be contented; this is a
8 - wore gloves in my cap,] i. e. His mistress's favours: , which was the fashion of that time.
9 light of ear,] Creduloys of evil, ready to receive malicious reports.
naughty night to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field were like an old lecher's heart; a small spark, all the rest of his body cold.—Look, here comes a walking fire.
Edg. This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives the web and the pin,' squints the eye, and makes the hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature of earth.
Saint Witholdfooted thrice the wold; . i He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold;
Bid her alight,
And her troth plight,
Enter Gloster, with a Torch.
Edg. Poor Tom; that eats the swimming frog, the toad, the tadpole, the wall-newt, and the water;3 that in the fury of his heart, when the foul fiend rages, eats cow-dung for sallets; swallows the old rat, and the ditch-dog; drinks the green mantle of the standing pool; who is whipped from tything to tything, 4 and stocked, punished, and imprisoned;
web and the pin,] Diseases of the eye. ? Saint Withold, &c.] i. e. Saint Withold traversing the wold or downs, met the night-mare; he obliged her to alight from those persons whom she rides, and plight her troth to do no more mischief. This is taken from a story of him in his legend. Ninefold means her nine familiars.
s the wall-newt, and the water; 7 i. e, the water-newt.
4 — whipped from tything to tything,] A tything is a division of a place, a district; the same in the country, as a ward in the city. In the Saxon times every hundred was divided into tythings.
who hath had three suits to his back, six shirts to his body, horse to ride, and weapon to wear,
But mice, and rats, and such small deer, ·
Beware my follower:Peace, Smolkin; peace, thou
fiend! Glo. What, hath your grace no better company
Edg. The prince of darkness is a gentleman; Modo he's callid, and Mahu. Glo. Our flesh and blood, my lord, is grown so
vile, That it doth hate what gets it. : il si
Edg. Poor Tom's a-cold.
Glo. Go in with me; my duty cannot suffer. To obey in all your daughters' hard commands: Though their injunction be to bar my doors," And let this tyrannous night take hold upon you; Yet have I ventur'd to come seek you out,':: And bring you where both fire and food is ready."
Lear. First let me talk with this philosopher:What is the cause of thunder?
Kent. Good my lord, take his offer; Go into the house. Lear. I'll talk a word with this same learned
Theban:What is your study?
Edg. How to prevent the fiend, and to kill vermin.
Lear. Let me ask you one word in private." ·Kent. Importune him once more to go, my lord, His wits begin to unsettle. Glo.
Can'st thou blame him? His daughters seek his death:“Ah, that good
5 Modo he's calld, and Mahu.] The names of pretended spirits,
He said it would be thus:-Poor banish'd man!
[Storm continues. The grief hath craz'd my wits. What a night's
this! I do beseech your grace, .. Lear. ,
O, cry you mercy, ,
Edg. Tom's a-cold.
: No words, no words: Hush.
Edg. Child Rowland to the dark tower came,
I smell the blood of a British man. [Exeunt,
• Child Rowland] The word child (however it came to have this sense) is often applied to Knights, &c, in old historical songs, and romances.
Enter CORNWALL and EDMUND.
house. Edm. How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus gives way to loyalty, something fears me to think of.
Corn. I now perceive, it was not altogether your brother's evil disposition made him seek his death; but a provoking merit, set a-work by a reproveable badness in himself.
Edm. How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to be just! This is the letter he spoke of, which approves him an intelligent party to the advantages of France. O heavens! that this treason were not, or not I the detector!
Corn. Go with me to the duchess. .
Edm. If the matter of this paper be certain, you have mighty business in hand.
Corn. True, or false, it hath made thee earl of Gloster. Seek out where thy father is, that he may be ready for our apprehension.
Edm. [Aside.) If I find him comforting the king, it will stuff his suspicion more fully. I will persevere in my course of loyalty, though the conflict be sore between that and my blood.
Corn. I will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find a dearer father in my love.